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Library proposals lack real clarity
THE future of York’s libraries and archives is in the balance.
The plan to transfer the service and responsibility for the buildings into a community benefit society is in line with the coalition Government’s agenda to reduce local government to a “commissioning authority” with little direct control of services.
Indeed, the council has accepted a £100,000 Government grant to fund the transfer process.
The big question is how exactly this transfer out of the council is going to save money?
February’s budget proposals will strip £250,000 out of the service, removing significant numbers of staff, before the transfer decision is made. Plans to access new grant funding and trade services are very vague.
Terms and conditions for the remaining staff will naturally be up for grabs and there is much vague talk of volunteers.
Yet it is very unclear how the council will retain democratic oversight and ensure the service maintains its current high standards.
The future vision of developing libraries as local community hubs, while saving money by sharing buildings with other services, is something we very much support, but where is the evidence that putting the service outside the council is the best way to achieve this?
Denise Craghill, Chair, York Green Party.